L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success

Debt-Free College Enrollment Fair in Boyle Heights on Friday, August 5, 2022, at the Boyle Heights Technology YouthSource Center (BHYTC)
On Friday, August 5, 2022, the Boyle Heights Technology YouthSource Center and Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) teamed up with Assemblymember Miguel Santiago to host a Debt-Free College Enrollment Fair celebrating the inclusion of AB 2266 in the 2022-23 fiscal year state budget.

The AB 2266 "Free Community College For All" bill extends the Los Angeles College Promise program, allowing all first-time and returning full-time students with demonstrated financial need to attend community college completely debt-free, regardless of age or background.

The enrollment fair was held at the Boyle Heights "Tech," where attendees received assistance filling out community college and financial aid applications, among many other resources.

For youth within the City of Los Angeles who wish to receive a higher education or enter the workforce, the LA College Promise program offers qualified students free tuition for two years, with priority enrollment and registration at any of the nine LACCD colleges. The program also provides financial assistance for books, laptops, food and transportation; and dedicated academic, counseling and financial aid services.

LA College Promise logo: orange, red and pink background with a block style graduation cap icon

Boyle Heights YouthSource Students Attending College Debt-Free

Celina Maldonado and Noel Dominguez are examples of how impactful the LA College Promise program is at changing lives.

Their stories also illustrate how the Los Angeles College Promise program program offers assistance for multiple generations to attend college, as both Celina and Noel's children are also enrolled in the program.


After leaving high school, Celina Maldonado saw all her friends going away to college, but she couldn't because she was undocumented at the time. Through the LA College Promise program, Celina was able to return to school in her 40s.

She attended East Los Angeles College (ELAC) and majored in Administration of Justice. The LA College Promise program provided Celina with financial support to help her pay for her college registration fees, general education units, and provided her with a laptop and TAP card to cover transportation costs.

"This program changes lives. It changed it for me, my son, and for the people of low-income resources," Celina said. "I went through the program with a promise to leave poverty."

With her experience from the program, Celina acquired the knowledge to help her own son navigate his college application process. Her son is also enrolled in LA College Promise and is currently studying Mechanics at ELAC.


From dealing with addiction to being involved in gang violence, Noel Dominguez dealt with many barriers which kept him away from his education for 20 years. With hopes of providing a better future for his family, Noel enrolled in the LA College Promise program. He then successfully transferred to Cal State Long Beach and will graduate in the coming year. Noel intends to continue his educational journey to obtain his law degree.

Noel also currently works at ELAC, where he gets to help others and his community. Following his father's academic footsteps, Noel's son has enrolled in the LA College Promise program, too.

Learn more about the many programs and benefits offered to the young people of Los Angeles through EWDD Youth Services and their YouthSource Centers.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of August 8, 2022. Read this issue and more.

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